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I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been I = M - S Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what ...

12/13/10

There is a fresh way of doing things. I come across it every day. A new generation seems to be growing up looking for new ways to build relationships and model exchange. This week I came across two such examples.

My wife took me to gravel & gold in the Mission in San Francisco. The store is full of magical things made by hand with little hand-written notes about the maker. We found folding scissors made very sturdily by the same family in Oregon for a couple generations. They are TSA-approved and perfect for traveling with. A hand-written note said

Founded in 1971, Slip-N-Snip is the original inventor and manufacturer of folding scissors. All components are manufactured here in the US by Don Gallogly and family.

We also bought some beeswax candles. Each item in the store had a maker and a story behind the maker. There were no fake 'old brands' bought out by people looking to make money on the basis of a name that may have nostalgic associations. The shop-keeper when we went there was Nile, one of the three owners of the store. She was very knowledgeable about everything the store carried and clearly loved her work. She was working when we came in, filling out orders, hand-writing notes, arranging products for sale. She was working when we left. Watching her I had to say good work!

Back in Berkeley I was walking to the farmers market when I came across the East Bay Alternative Press Festival (December 11, 10-4). What a delightful event. There were rows and rows of tables and chairs with mostly hand-made and some small-press books, zines, and other artifacts. I bought a little hand-made comic called black tea by Jason Martin. Jason was shy but available to interact with his customers. Many of the maker/sellers were happy to trade their books for ones you may have made. I had a wonderful time being there.

What was interesting about these two experiences was to see an emerging Gandhian economics in action. What was being sold was a result of good work, and the selling and trading itself was done in a way that was on a small, human-scale respectful of human dignity.

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